CHARLOTTE – With Demetrious Cox expected to miss at least two games with a sprained MCL, the Panthers on Tuesday shored up their depth at safety by signing free agent Jairus Byrd.
A second-round pick of the Bills in 2009, Byrd made three Pro Bowls in Buffalo before he signed a six-year deal with New Orleans in 2014. But after three seasons that included injuries and inconsistent play, the Saints released Byrd in March.
During his five years in Buffalo, Byrd racked up 22 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and 356 tackles. With the Saints, he totaled three picks, two forced fumbles and 157 tackles, but 82 of those came last season when he appeared in all 16 games.
Byrd, 30, worked out for the Panthers during training camp, so it makes sense he was on the radar for a team that as of Tuesday morning had just three healthy safeties in Mike Adams, Demetrious Cox and Colin Jones.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound Byrd played his college football at Oregon, where he was teammates with Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey and tight end Ed Dickson.
Byrd takes the place of another Byrd on the Panthers' roster.
Wide receiver Damiere Byrd, who broke his left arm on a reverse early in the second quarter of Sunday's win over the Patriots, was placed on injured reserve.